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Viet Nam[1] [print]

Last edited: December 2005

 

Summary and Analysis

 

When Viet Nam ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in February of 1990, the Convention was effectively given legal authority superior to all domestic law.[2]  Following the ratification, Viet Nam adopted numerous laws and amendments in order to incorporate the CRC in domestic legislation, including the Marriage and Family Law; the 1992 Law on the Protection, Care, and Education of Children, which was replaced by the 2004 Law on the Protection, Care, and Education of Children; and the 1995 Civil Code.

Several laws govern child protection in Viet Nam— the Constitution, Civil Code, Marriage and Family Law, and the Law on the Protection, Care, and Education of Children.  In 1994 the government established the Committee on the Protection, Care, and Education of Children (CPCC) and charged it with the monitoring and coordination of government agencies and social organizations in the protection, care, and education of children.  In addition, municipal CPCCs and the Viet Nam Women's Union (VWU) are responsible for the protection of children at the local level and recommending courses of action for individual cases to law enforcement agencies.  Viet Nam has several options for street children, orphans, sexually abused children and other children in need of alternative care, including Mai Am (Children's Shelters), Nha Tinh Thuong (Drop-in Centers), and Child Counseling Centers. 

 

The CRC's Article 12, which provides children with the right to express opinions in matters affecting them, is incorporated in the Law on the Protection, Care, and Education of Children.  The law mandates that the State “has the responsibility to listen to and resolve the legitimate wishes of the child,” but the law does not specify that children must be consulted in protective proceedings or clarify which wishes qualify as legitimate.[3]  Still, the provision presumably applies to protection proceedings, because the Law on the Protection, Care, and Education of Children is one of the laws governing child protection.  Vietnamese law only requires the appointment of a representative for children involved in delinquency proceedings, adoption cases, and criminal cases regarding abused or exploited children.  Therefore, it is likely that children are consulted directly in protection proceedings, which take place before the local CPCCs.

 

In 2000, Viet Nam reported to the Committee on the Rights of the Child that, though domestic laws may have been in harmony with the CRC and the implementation of those laws had improved, a small gap remained between legal text and enforcement.[4]  The government attributed this gap to insufficient education and dissemination of laws and the lack of a sense of the need to observe those laws.[5]  Meanwhile, the government is struggling against the spread of bird flu, and, though poverty has been markedly reduced, the UNDP reported that in 2002 50.9% of the population was living below the poverty line.[6]  At the same time, the U.S. State Department reports that street children, child labor, and child malnutrition remain widespread problems and economic difficulties and abusive homes have forced many girls and some boys into prostitution.[7]

 

Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

 

Original Text

 

International Law

 

công ước ca lien hp quc v quyn tr em[8]

 

Ðiéu 12

1.      Các quc gia thành viên phi đm bo cho tr em có đ kh năng hình thành quan đim riêng ca mình được quyn t do phát biu nhng quan đim đó v tt c các vn đnh hưởng đến tr em và nhng quan đim ca tr em phi được coi trng mt cách phù hp vi tui và đ trưởng thành ca tr em.

2.      Vì mc đích đó, tr em phi được đc bit to cơ hi nói lên ý kiến ca mình trong bt kỳ quá trình t tng tư pháp hoc hành chính nào có nh hưởng đến tr em, hoc trc tiếp hay thong qua mt người đi din hay mt cơ quan thích hp, theo cách thc phû hp vi nhng quy đnh mang tính th tc ca lut pháp quc gia.

 

Statutes

 

Lut bo v, chăm sóc và giáo dc tr em[9]

 

Điu 20. Quyn được tiếp cn thông tin, bày t ý kiến và tham gia hot đng xã hi

1.   Tr em có quyn được tiếp cn thông tin phù hp vi s phát trin ca tr em, được bày t ý kiến, nguyn vng v nhng vn đ mình quan tâm.

2.   Tr em được tham gia hot đng xã hi phù hp vi nhu cu và năng lc ca mình.

 

Điu 32. Trách nhim bo đm quyn được tiếp cn thông tin, bày t ý kiến và tham gia hot đng xã hi

1.   Gia đình, Nhà nước và xã hi có trách nhim to điu kin, giúp đ tr em được tiếp cn thông tin phù hp, được phát trin tư duy sáng to và bày t nguyn vng; có trách nhim lng nghe và gii quyết nguyn vng chính đáng ca tr em.

2.   Đoàn thanh niên Cng sn H Chí Minh, nhà trường có trách nhim t chc cho tr em tham gia các hot đng xã hi và sinh hot tp th phù hp vi nhu cu và la tui.

 

Translation[10]

 

International Law

 

Convention on the Rights of the Child, [11] ratified Feb. 28, 1990

 

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

 

Statutes

 

Law on the protection, care and education of Children[12]

 

Article 20.  Right to be able to access information, express opinions, and participate in activities of society

  1. The child has the right to be able to access information in accordance with the development of the child, to be able to express opinions, wishes regarding any matters affecting him.
  2. The child is able to participate in activities of society in accordance with his own needs and capacity.

 

Article 32.  The responsibility to ensure the right to be able to access information, to express opinions, and participate in activities in society.

  1. The Family, State, and Society has the responsibility to create the conditions and help the child to able to access information, to be able to develop express thoughts, and create and express his own wishes; has the responsibility to listen and to resolve those legitimate wishes of the child.
  2. Ho Chi Minh Communist Party and school have the responsibility to establish ways for children to participate in all activities of society and life in accordance with their needs and age group.

 

Additional Resources and Links

 

UNICEF— Vietnam (In Vietnamese and English): http://www.unicef.org/vietnam/

 

Tr em hôm nay— Children Today (In Vietnamese): http://hanoi.vnn.vn/chuyen_de/9906/index.html



Endnotes

1 This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] Committee on the Rights of the Child, Periodic reports of States parties due in 1997: Viet Nam, ¶22, U.N. Doc. CRC/C/65/Add.20 (May 2002), available at http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/5ee877c8e7b97e15c1256c3a00389d1a?Opendocument, and also as .pdf Document.

[3] Law on the protection, care and education of Children, 25/2004/QH11, art. 20, 32 (2004) (unofficial translation completed by a translator provided by the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization).

[4] Periodic report, supra note 1, at ¶23.

[5] Id.

[6] U.N. Development Programme, Human Development Report 2005, (20035), at 228, available at http://hdr.undp.org/statistics/data/countries.cfm?c=VNM, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[7] Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Human Rights Report: Vietnam, U.S. State Department (2005), ¶5, available http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41665.htm, and also here, and also as .pdf Document.

[8] G.A. Res. 44/125, U.N. GAOR, 44th Session, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/736 (1989), available at http://www.unicef.org/magic/media/documents/CRC_vietnamese_language_version.pdf.

[9] Lut bo v, chăm sóc và giáo dc tr em [Law on the protection, care and education of Children], 25/2004/QH11, art. 20, 32, available at http://na.vasc.com.vn/noidung.asp?id=17108, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[10] Unofficial translation completed by a translator provided by the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization.

[11] G.A. Res. 44/125, U.N. GAOR, 44th Session, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/736 (1989), available at http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm.

[12] Law on the protection, care and education of Children, 25/2004/QH11, art. 20, 32 (2004).

 

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